Debbie Fox wrote the most amazing e-mail and sent me a link to a review copy of her new book, Quiet Kid. Debbie is extremely talented. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and the theme of this book is so important. Quiet kids are NORMAL–and it is hard to be a quiet kid in a world of loud kids. In her e-mail, she said, “Introverted kids are some of my favorite students to work with at my school because I totally get them- so thoughtful, creative and inherently wise- but they also tend to be so misunderstood and easily targeted for bullying. I only have to think back on my own bewildered days as a quiet kid to remember how hard it can be to navigate through a noisy, outgoing world. It’s my hope that Quiet Kid will help these kids see that being born with this temperament of ours is perfectly fine…. and help their extroverted peers understand them better. It would have been a favorite bedtime book of mine.”
So, here is my review and how to use this book!
*Picture book, preschool through 3rd graders (Although really, you could use this book in an older classroom to start a discussion!)
*Nonfiction picture book, shy kids are the subject
*Rating: I LOVE the illustrations in this book–unique, beautiful, awesome. Debbie Fox is extremely talented. The book is told in rhyme–not sure if this is needed exactly, but it wouldn’t stop me from buying or sharing this book with teachers, librarians, and parents because this is one of those books that KIDS NEED!
Short, short summary: The book starts out comparing a quiet kid to one sailboat in the sea. Then it goes on to explain how quiet kids feel. (Example text: I am a quiet kid you might know/ in a world that’s fast and loud./ It’s hard to let my feelings show/ within the many in a crowd./ I LOVE the page about how a quiet kid can make a great friend because they are good listeners and don’t brag or gossip. This is so true! At the end of the book, Fox goes back to her beginning theme (I love circle stories) of the sailboat in the ocean and how there are many, many kids of sailboats–and some are quiet and strong!
So what do I do with this book?
1. Share it in a classroom of children. Then give them a piece of paper and ask them to draw or write about what kind of kid they think they are. Are they a quiet kid? A talkative kid? A funny kid? A serious kid? Remind them of the beautiful image of all the different sailboats in the sea in Fox’s book. When they are finished, see if any of them can come up with an analogy like Fox did with the sailboats. They could compare a class of children to a pumpkin patch, a school of fish, and so on.
2. Not only is this a character ed/self-esteem book, but you can use this book to discuss art technique and study the illustrations, too. They are incredible. Ask children to choose their favorite illustration and then make one of their own about themselves in a similar style. This would be a great project for an Open House (to hang on the wall) or for a home school around Thanksgiving/Christmas time!
3. You can even turn this into a bit of a grammar lesson about adjectives/describing words. The title, of course, has QUIET. There are several other describing words in the text. Have children pick these out while reading and make a list of them. Children can use them in a sentence of their own, discuss what each word modifies, think of synonyms for the words, and so on. Whatever you need to work on, you can do a mini-lesson with this book on adjectives/describing words.